Danish Film Classics

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Jørgen Leth 4: Fiction FilmsJørgen Leth 4: Fiction Films

Danish Film Classics

Though the element of fiction is far from dominant in Jørgen Leth's oeuvre, he has made two "fiction features," Interference (1983) and Traberg (1992). Both are set in Haïti and both revolve around a lost, searching male character. The protagonists vanish or are gradually ousted from the centre of the fiction, as the real world moves in with a violence and obsessive power that makes Haïti itself the true subject of both films. As an added bonus, this box set also contains Jørgen Leth and Per Kirkeby's 1979 TV-production of A Midsummer Night's Play (1979), an 1803 Danish Golden-Age classic by the Romantic poet Adam Oehlenschläger. Leth and Kirkeby present the play in tableau form, featuring the finest Danish actors of the day in a festive romp through Oehlenschläger's elaborate verse and metrics.

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Jørgen Leth 5: Film PortraitsJørgen Leth 5: Film Portraits

Danish Film Classics

In this box set, we find Leth's ballet films about the dancer Peter Martins and the Bournonville steps and tradition alongside literary portraits of the Danish authors Klaus Rifbjerg and Søren Ulrik Thomsen, plus a many-headed portrait of illustrious Danish writers from H.A. Brorson to Michael Strunge, and, finally, his films about sports icons, the footballer Michael Laudrup and the boxer Ayub Kalule. Ballet, Danish literature and sports: In all three areas, the filmmaker strives to portray people and situations by zeroing in on the creative process itself. In the way he shapes his fascination through objective detachment and a formalist approach, we recognise the method of anthropological observation that is such a strong thread in Leth's works.

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Jørgen Leth 6: Experimental filmsJørgen Leth 6: Experimental films

Danish Film Classics

The sixth and final box set in the Jørgen Leth Collection comprises his early experiments. Here we find Leth's first films from the 1960s and early 1970s, when the poet and director moved into the world of film, playing around with images and sound. His very first film, from 1963, is about the jazz pianist Bud Powell. Like so many of these films, it is the product of a close collaboration with the cinematographer Ole John. Leth and John continued their tight partnership over the following years, exploring and challenging cinematic language. Eventually, they expanded their collaborative form into the ABCinema movement, a film collective of artists from many different scenes, including among others Bjørn Nørgaard, Per Kirkeby, Ursula Reuter, Lene Adler Petersen and Erik Thygesen. The box set offers a portrait of "the artist as a young puppy," and supplements the early experiments with an array of bonus materials almost a full five hours chronicling the rise of ABCinema, describing the director's life in Haiti today and pointing ahead to two brand new films about Leth.

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The End of the World & A Trip to MarsThe End of the World & A Trip to Mars

Danish Film Classics

Both films display the high production value Nordisk Film Co. had attained after almost a decade as one of the leading film production companies in the world. In The End of the World (1916) the rumour spreads that a comet is on a collision course with Earth. Inspired by the fear evoked by Halley's Comet in 1910, this film was clearly addressed to a public in an age of war. A Trip to Mars (1918) is a lavishly produced space-travel picture and a milestone in the science fiction genre. The contemporary fascination with aviation is evident: the space-ship has wings and a propeller, and the crew is clad in leather aviator outfits.

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Valdemar Psilander: Three FilmsValdemar Psilander: Three Films

Danish Film Classics

Valdemar Psilander (1884-1917) was probably the greatest male star of Danish silent cinema. He died in 1917, only 32 years old. Despite his early death, he nevertheless acted in 83 films during his 6 years with the Nordisk Films Kompagni. The three films on this DVD are not only representative of Valdemar Psilander's qualities as an actor, but also the production of Nordisk Films Kompagni during the most productive and successful years of Danish cinema.

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